One Crazy Summer!

Three Girls on a Journey!

Traveled 3,000 miles for a Hug?



Imagine being sent to Oakland, California in the summer of the 1960’s to stay with your mother who left you and your two sisters when you were little. Your grandmother, Big Ma, always talks about how no good of a woman your mother is and how you should never stay with her. How would you feel? Well in the book One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia, nine year old Vonetta, eight year old Fern and eleven year old Delphine has to do just that.

From the first time the three sisters saw their mother, the mother who was as tall as a man, wore man pants, had a scarf and sunglasses around her face, they knew that they were in for a crazy summer. Delphine has always been told by her grandmother, Big Ma, that Cecile left them because she couldn't name her daughter, one of Delphine's sisters,

Fern whose birth name is Afua. She also says that Cecile doesn’t care about them and the three sisters are starting to think that is true. When Delphine and her sisters arrive at their mother’s Green Stucco House, they have to learn to adapt to their mothers ways and rules of eating takeout food, sleeping in the same room with her sisters, not being able to cook or go inside the kitchen, staying out of the house all day and having Fern not being called Fern but “little Girl.” When Delphine and her sisters are out of the house, they go to a community center run by the Black Panthers. At the center, Delphine and her sister’s learn a lot about the Black Panthers, more than what they would have learned if they had stayed in Brooklyn for the summer. The summer in the year of 1968 for these girls, roll on day by day, week by week, the same pattern each day with a little twist once in awhile until one day when the girls come back from a trip to San Francisco. Cecile doesn’t show that she cares about the girls but in the end of the book you find out that even though she has a tough way of showing it, she does love them somewhat. Also during this time, there is a lot of action going around with the Black Panthers, a group of African Americans that protest for their rights. At one point in the book Delphine gets scared because she has heard that people bomb the black panthers and she doesn't want her sisters to be in danger. It is her job to keep her sisters safe.

Delphine soon learns that life with Cecile isn’t as bitter as she thought it was. One night after Delphine and her sisters come back from a trip to San Francisco, they find their mother being handcuffed and put into the back of the police car. Cecile did not do anything “illegal” but she was a freedom writer and a part of the Black Panthers. Cecile is a great poem writer and she writes poems about rights for black people. Hirohito’s mom knows how it feels to have someone taken away by the police so she takes care of the girls until Cecile gets out of jail. When Cecile finally does get out of jail, it is the girls last full day in California. She listens to the stories the girls tell and she acts more like a mom but the kind of mom that is learning slowly. She also tells Delphine what really happened and why she left. Then it becomes time for them to leave. They head to airport and when they are getting ready to board the plain Fern runs over to Cecile and hugs her and Delphine and Vonetta can’t resist. They run over to their mother who they traveled 3,000 miles to see, the mother that left them when they were younger and the mother they came so far to see, just to get a hug.

Character Traits

Delphine, the Responsible 11 year old

Ever since the first page of this book, Delphine is the most responsible 11 year old that I have ever read about. This shows on page 49-50 and 51. “If we were home with Pa and Big Ma, we would have been bathed and in bed an hour and five minutes ago. But we weren’t in Brooklyn, we were in Oakland with Cecile. I glanced at my trust Timex”...”Its waterproof face told me all I needed to know at thirty-five in the evening. That it took three minutes for warm water and a handful of Tide soap powder to make the right amount of sud. Fifteen minutes was enough time for the days dirt to fall to the bottom of the tub, while Vonetta and Fern styled bubble beehive hairdos on their heads and beards on each other”...”After I got my sister in, out dried and lotioned”...”We were in our summer nighties. Vonetta and Fern lay side by side, their elbows propped up on the higher bed, while I lay on the lower bed. Fern’s eyes grew droopy. Still, she yawned and demanded story time. I opened Peter Pan, one of the books i’d checked out for a two week loan before we’d left Brooklyn”...”This Peter Pan was better than the Peter Pan coloring books at home. It was a real book, thick with more than one hundred pages of adventure. Vonetta and Fern were soon under the spell of Peter and Wendy flying like fairies. Both Vonetta and Fern gave out three pages sooner than I had planned. I put my bookmark, a coaster from the airplane, in the right spot and pulled the blanket over my sisters.”

Spotlight On History

The Educational-Crazy Summer



1.The Black Panthers were a group of African- Americans that fought for the rights of African-Americans.They also fought against racism.

Page Number 45
“I was sure they were the Black Panthers. They were on the news a lot lately. The Panthers on TV said they were in communities to protect poor black people from the powerful, to provide things like food, clothes, and medical help and to fight racism. Even so, most people were afraid of the Black Panthers because they carried rifles and shouted “Black Power.”
This connects to the time period because in the 1960’s a lot of anti-racism groups were formed and a lot of racism was going on.

2. Police arrested anyone apart of the Black Panthers or just black people even if they did not do anything illegal.
Page Number 171
“I was imagining what had happened. How Cecile didn't want them in her house. In her workplace. Where she only allowed me, and only at a distance. That the police might have touched her papers and picked up her letters with clumsy cop hands. Cecile might have gone crazy like I knew she could have, instead of saying “i’m a citizen and I have rights.” She and the Black Panthers might have demanded to see the policemen’s search warrant. She might have reached out to protect her poems. The broken stool told me more than I wanted to know.
This connects to the time period because during the 1960’s Black people were not treated fairly and would get arrested for things a white person wouldn’t.

3. Whenever African-Americans went anywhere where it was predominantly all white people, they got stared at.
Page number 162
“While we were arguing about what was Chinese and what was Japanese, I noticed this family of five tall blond people standing near us. I didn't eyeball them dead on, but I knew they were staring at us...I had to get my sisters away from these stairers.”
This connects to the time period of racism in the 1960’s because African Americans were stared at a lot by the opposite race when going places because they were hated so much.

4. Some white people liked African-Americans and didn't care about race.
Page Number 15, 16, 17
“A large white woman came and stood before us, clapping her hands like we were on display at the Bronx Zoo. “ Oh my. What adorable dolls you are. My, my.” She warbled like an opera singer.Her face was moon full and jelly soft, the cheeks and jaw framed by white whiskers. We said nothing “and so well behaved.”...Oh and so cute.” She put all of the nickels in Fern’s hand and pinched her cheek faster than I could do anything about it and was gone, as big as she was.”
This connects to the time period of 1963 because not many white people liked or even wanted to be associated with black people. There were only a few whites that liked and cared about black people and were nice to them.

Story's Place and Time

Connecting the Dates

1. President Johnson announces that he will not accept his renomination. (March 31 1968)
2. Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated in Memphis. (April 4 1968)
3. James Earl Ray is captured in London and indicted of murder (June 8 1968)
4. Richard M. Nixon became 37th President in the U.S. (Jan 20 1969)
5. Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. and Michael Collins are the first men to walk on the moon(July 20 1969)
6. Kate Middleton and Prince William have their royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in London (April 29 2011)
7. Adam Lanza, kills 27 including himself, 20 kids 6 adult at Sandy Hooks Elementary School massacre. (Dec. 14, 2012)

The Memories of the Crazy Summer: Turning Points

This picture is of the Black Panthers. This represents when the girls went to the community center and learned about the black panthers. This is a turning point because the girls learned a lot about who they were and who their mother was.

Oakland California Airport

This represents the airport in Oakland California. When the girls were getting ready to board the plane back home to Brooklyn, they ran back to their mom and hugged her. This was a turning point because they never showed they loved their mother but they did and they just couldn't leave without hugging her.

The Green Stucco House

This is a picture of a Green Stucco house. This represents Cecile’s house because Cecile had a green Stucco house too. When the girls first saw the house they were surprised because it was the only house in the neighborhood that looked the way it did.This was a turning point because this house is the start of the crazy summer that the girls are going to have.